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San Francisco Chronicle: Q+A: How do I determine my priorities before I search for a home? By Kevin Ho + Jonathan McNarry

K E V I N + J O N A T H A N  I N  T H E  M E D I A 

Question: How do I determine my priorities before I search for a home?

A: Home buyers can easily get wrapped up and turned around in questioning what their priorities really are — from the esoteric, “What am I actually buying?” (especially for tenancy in commons and condominiums); the overwhelming, “How am I really going to pay for this?” to the existential, “How can a space really be ‘0’ square feet?”

But must-haves and deal-breakers really come into focus when we ask our buyers to take a look at their calendars, weekend plans and daily routines.

After work, do you nest or is home just a pit-stop before spin class and dinner? (Read: location/starter home).

Are you making dinner at home tonight? (Read: kitchen quality).

Did you leave you clothes in the washer again? (Read: in-unit laundry and closet space).

Just how often will those out-of-town guests really visit you? (Read: budget/room count).

By taking a look at the humdrum of daily life, disoriented buyers may well see that the answers were right in front of them all along.

What's important to you? Let's discuss and we'll figure it out and find the right place for you together!

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Our Experience and Knowledge is Just a Click Away

There’s a reason why they ask us to write columns, it’s because we know what we’re talking about. See how you too can benefit and succeed in San Francisco’s high-value real estate market by contacting us now. 

From time to time we get asked to chime in the Sunday San Francisco Chronicle’s real estate Ask-a-Realtor column “Sound Off.”  This week’s question asked about how the Internet has impacted real estate.

Appearing in the San Francisco Chronicle’s “Sound Off” real estate column as published on April 1, 2019, see the online version here.

More Columns from Kevin + Jonathan

Sold: 140 S. Van Ness No. 1130, San Francisco | $785,000 | MLS 478265

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Vanguard Properties

Kevin K. Ho, Esq. + Jonathan B. McNarry

proudly present

140 S. VAN NESS, No. 1130

Just-Remodeled, Penthouse-level 1-Bed, 1-Bath Condominium

sold.

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Marketed By:

Kevin K. Ho, Esq.
Jonathan B. McNarry

MLS No.  478265

Top Producers, Top 21 Vanguard Properties, Top 1% of San Francisco Agents

140 South Van Ness, No. 1130, San Francisco
Topline On the Top Floor

Number 1130 is an impressive, just-updated 1-bed, 1-bath penthouse-level condominium that’s contemporary and comfortable. On the non-construction side of the building, No. 1130 faces the courtyard and has the tallest ceilings in the building. Detailed updates include brand new stainless appliances (induction range, full-size refrigerator, and dishwasher); new, full-size stacked washer/dryer; new designer LED lighting; USB power outlets & high-end hardware. Large bath has a new dual vanity. There’s a bright patio where you can relax.

The setting is quiet as there’s no one above you and because of the concrete construction. Secure parking, additional storage are among other amenities like a full-size gym, central courtyard and secure parking and professional management. Located in a rapidly evolving and central location close to 101, the building is a morning commute tech shuttle stop.

SOLD at: $785,000

Contact Us.

Have a question? Want to see if your property can do as well or better? 

Feel free to call or text us…

Kevin (415) 297-7462

Jonathan (415) 215-4393

The Photos.

Where It's At.

The information contained in this material is deemed to be reliable and accurate but it is unverified. Potential buyers should take all steps necessary to satisfy themselves regarding the information contained herein or any other matter related to the property they see fit. 

San Francisco Chronicle: Q+A: August 26, 2018 – K+J on Open House Etiquette

K E V I N + J O N A T H A N  I N  T H E  M E D I A

From time to time we get asked to chime in the Sunday San Francisco Chronicle’s real estate Ask-a-Realtor column “Sound Off.”  This week’s question asked about open house faux pas. While the other folks talked about opening drawers during open houses, we focused on the bigger picture.
 

Appearing in the San Francisco Chronicle’s “Sound Off” real estate column published on Aug 26, 2018, see the online version here.

Question: What is proper etiquette when attending an open house? What are some unwritten rules?

Answer: Open houses may resemble kabuki theater sometimes, but first impressions matter a great deal in real estate. 

There’s nothing worse for buyers than feeling ignored at an open house. Agents should always greet and acknowledge you — even a simple nod works. Seeing an agent who’s engrossed in their phone by themselves is disheartening. We’ve attended open houses with our clients and weren’t sure if the showing agent knew we were even there. If they don’t care about an open, what else have they ignored?   

On the other side, we tell our buyers to behave nicely: say hello, tell the showing agent you’re working with us (super important to avoid confusion early on), pick up a statement but never put it back if you’re uninterested (recycle it elsewhere later). If you don’t like a house, smile and nod but don’t say anything negative about it within earshot of other folks even if you’re trying to psych out potential competition, because good agents will remember who came by and what they said.    

ABOVE: The kabuki theater of open houses.

E X T R A  C R E D I T

Some Tips + Definitions

We’re known for our educated and prepared buyers. Our buyers oftentimes endear themselves to Listing Agents at open houses by being polite and nice. We encourage you to introduce yourself to the Listing Agent and feel free to ask some questions but you should mention that you’re working with Kevin Ho and Jonathan McNarry of Vanguard right away. Here are a few tips: 

New Buildings

Introducing yourself and telling them you’re working with us is  even more important when you go to new construction buildings as you want to be clear that you have independent representation, which is always important but more so in new construction as these buildings will have in-house sales staff where commission questions may come up. 

Open Houses

Open houses are times when the seller’s agent invites the public to come and see the property. They usually take place on Sundays from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. with fewer taking place at the same time on Saturdays and some homes being open on Thursday nights for ‘twilight tours’ after work gets out for most people. If you can’t make it, let us know and we can set up an appointment to see it with you.

Agents

The seller’s agent is called the “Listing Agent” and your agent is the buyer’s agent. Some agents specialize as being one of the other, we specialize in both! Sometimes the Listing Agent will also act as a buyer’s agent too but if you think you’ll gain an advantage in getting the property this way beware as potential conflicts of interest may arise. Sellers pay commissions to both agents.

Asking Price/List Price

This is published price a property will have on the MLS. It bears little relationship with its closing price in San Francisco as nearly 75% of properties close above the list price.

More Columns by Kevin + Jonathan

Sold in 4 Days: 2346 Clement, No 3, San Francisco | MLS 473356

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Vanguard Properties

Kevin K. Ho, Esq. + Jonathan B. McNarry

proudly present

2346 Clement Street, No. 3

Top-Floor Contemporary Central Richmond Condominium

sold (after 4 days on the market).

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Marketed By:

Kevin K. Ho, Esq.
Jonathan B. McNarry

MLS No. 473356 

Top Producers, Top 21 Vanguard Properties, Top 1% of San Francisco Agents

2346 Clement, No 3, San Francisco
Bright, Spacious and Surprising Condominium in the Middle of a Foodie Haven

Number 3 is a penthouse-level, bright, and modern 1-bed, 1-bath condominium with a cook’s kitchen, in-unit laundry, open floor plan and upgraded finishes located in a foodie haven comprised of some of San Francisco’s most notable restaurants with cuisines for almost every palette.

This 2004-built condominium has a deeded roof deck, warm radiant heat wood floors, granite and stainless steel finishes in the kitchen and a large bedroom with a walk-in closet. The property is quiet thanks to its dual-pane windows, seller-installed sound insulation and modern construction. The property is bright thanks to upgraded and updated modern LED lighting and its southern exposure that lets in natural light. There’s a spa-like bathroom with a soaking jetted tub, a fully-equipped kitchen with a double oven, gas range, dishwasher, disposal and granite counter tops.

Meticulously maintained this beautiful home is in the middle of a vibrant neighborhood with fresh food, restaurants and entertainment at your fingertips. Golden Gate Park just a stone’s throw away; 96 Walk Score. Well-run, 5-unit building, this home is a great investment for an owner-user or investor seeking flexibility in a popular location.

Listed at: $699,000

SOLD at: $845,000

Early Reactions.

"Beautiful."

"It’s a great, livable space."

"If you’re hungry you can go right out and get food or go out to eat."

"That's a huge living room. Huge! "

"That closet is so big."

Features.

1 bed, 1 bath
8-ft plus high ceilings, crown molding
862 sqft (as per tax records)

Well-equipped kitchen with recent 5-burner, double-oven, stainless LG gas range, externally vented hood, full-size Bosch dishwasher, stainless steel sink with disposal, recent stainless KitchenAid refrigerator, microwave, under cabinet lighting, granite countertops

Luxurious bathroom with soaking/jacuzzi tub
Oak floors
Recessed LED lights and new LED light fixtures
Radiant heat throughout
In-Unit washer/dryer (gas)
Spacious living room with gas fireplace
Dual-pane windows throughout

Walk Score: 96 — Walker’s Paradise
Transit Score: 75 — Excellent
Bike Score: 87 — Very Bikeable

Circa 2004
APN: 1409/069

About the Building.

2346 Clement, No. 3, is a part of a 5-unit building that dates from 2004
There's informal property management
Monthly HOA dues are $332.50 and includes garbage, water, HOA insurance and reserve contributions
There is a ground-floor commercial space that comprises approximately 14.4% of the building's area

Contact Us.

Have a question? Want to see what we did to get this result so quickly? 

Feel free to call or text us…

Kevin (415) 297-7462

Jonathan (415) 215-4393

The Photos.

Where It's At.

The Floor Plan.

The information contained in this material is deemed to be reliable and accurate but it is unverified. Potential buyers should take all steps necessary to satisfy themselves regarding the information contained herein or any other matter related to the property they see fit. 

Steady and Increasing: Homes Sales Data from the First Part of 2017 is In

WHAT’S NEW AND NEWS WITH US

1st Half of 2017? Sales Data Holds Steady in SF Real Estate From 2016 to Date — Summer Selling Pattern Takes Hold 

 

It’s been six months since 2017 started and real estate has held pretty steady with modest gains to prices and similar numbers of properties being bought and sold. We’ve had a banner year already and have lots of listings in the works in addition to the trio we have open this weekend both on Saturday and Sunday. Also hopeful is that we also saw a slightly increased number of new listings pop up this week as opposed to the past few — perhaps an acknowledgement that people are back from the 4th of July holiday? 

 

San Francisco Sales Data for the First Part of 2017

Here are a few trends we’re seeing this summer and in the longer term.

  • Mortgage rates remain low, despite Ms. Yellen’s increase. While they’ve gone up this year and are likely to increase even more later this year, mortgage rates are still holding steady. Folks should really act soon to capture this market anomaly
  • Smaller-sized residential projects will be more popular and feasible as we’re already starting to see (see our Stories of the Week section below to see why) 
  • The most recent sales have showed that we are indeed in the summer pattern. Like the fog, things have cooled down from our May highs with properties taking that much longer to sell with fewer offers. This cool pattern will, like it does every year, give way in September after Burning Man (yes, it’s Burning Man now, not Labor Day) and we should go back to more activity and higher prices.
  • It looks like prices will remain strong as buyers are confident in San Francisco real estate. After all, it is not only a rare place on earth but remember that all the people who bought houses over the past years did so with cash or have such low mortgage interest rates that it doesn’t make sense to sell much less give up tax benefits and extra equity earned already. 

Thank you all for reading. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or if you think someone you know could benefit from our thoughtful and engaging approach, pass our contact information along. Without you we cannot do what we love to do!

In 2015 Our Real Estate Clients of Kevin+Jonathan Bought for Less and Sold for More in San Francisco, Data Shows

How Do You Do? How Real Estate Clients of Kevin+Jonathan Did In San Francisco in 2015

2015 is done and in 2015 real estate clients of realtors Kevin Ho and Jonathan McNarry of Vanguard Properties outperformed their peers in San Francisco’s ‘crazy’ real estate market. Take a look below to see how and if you want to know the ‘why’ contact the pair today.

Kevin Ho and Jonathan McNarry's track record for their San Francisco real estate buyers and sellers in 2015.

See how our real estate clients fared in San Francisco’s 2015 real estate market.

BOTH OUR BUYERS AND SELLERS did very well in 2015 and clients who worked with Kevin+Jonathan outperformed their peers working with other agents when compared to MLS average and median figures for 2015. Some take away points analysis of the year gone by show:

  1. For buyers, cash wasn’t king in 2015 and being the top-priced offer wasn’t necessarily the offer that won in the end as the being the best offer for the circumstances was far more important
  2. Nearly all of our buyers used financing and still won their San Francisco property; few of them had financing contingencies however
  3. Our buyers paid an average of 7.7 percent over a property’s list price as buyers saw more overage com
  4. Our sellers sold an average of 26 percent over a property’s list price
  5. San Francisco’s property prices grew modestly compared to a year ago with condo price appreciation outpacing single-family homes prices slightly with both hovering around a 12 percent annual gain.

Our best performing listing this year took place at 1072 Noe Street over the summer of 2015, which was featured on SF Curbed.

Noe Valley's top fixer in 2015 sold by Kevin Ho and Jonathan McNarry

Kevin Ho and Jonathan McNarry of Vanguard Properties fetch nearly $1M over asking price for this fixer at 24th and Noe Streets in San Francisco

You may remember it was the large fixer that we priced properly at $1,898,000 (which was already gutsy and aggressive). There were attempts to approach the sellers early by others. The top off-market value offered for the 1800+ sqft, massive fixer house that stretched well into the mandated setback, expandable attic and garage/lower level  (which was bought in 1965 for a mere $25,000) was $1.8M. Even our broker said we’d be having a good day if our sellers got offers over $2M. We were undeterred and after we worked with the family who owned the property — clearing out 8 years weeds, 40 years of personal effects long forgotten, and clearing up legal, title and tax issues, we marketed the property to a very specific set of buyers. And when all 6 offers came in after just one weekend of open houses (none of them below $2.15M) with the top two being tied at $2.8M. 1072 Noe closed $2.8M, some 47% over the list price at over $1550/sqft for a fixer.  We still get calls from agents and would-be sellers alike as to how we took a house that sat empty for 7 years and got a record price without staging or remodeling.

Ask Kevin+Jonathan about how we tailor our experience, energy and knowledge to help you win in your San Francisco situation today by calling (415) 297-7462 or (415) 215-4393 or complete our intake form here today.

 

 

Hatchbeat: September’s Full House of San Francisco Real Estate: Kevin’s Hatchbeat Column

SEPTEMBER 2015

Suddenly It’s September 

September is the time when SF real estate picks up. This one may be different than others as global forces impact what happens in our neighborhoods

Full House of Dollars

Would the Full House family be able to live in Alamo Square these days?

SF Median Sale Prices from July 15-August 30, 2015

Source: SFAR MLS

By: Kevin K. Ho, ESQ., Vanguard Properties

Originally appearing in the September 2015 edition of the Hatchbeat, a San Francisco neighborhood newsletter serving Alamo Square, NoPa, Hayes Valley, the Haight and more.

In many other parts of the country summer is the busy time for real estate. By the time fall comes, real estate quiets down. Not so in San Francisco. Real estate transactions pick up in the fall here; we suppose it’s because everyone is back from vacation or because the weather is nicer. Anyway, recent global and financial events may make the upcoming autumn more eventful than in years past.

  • An ode to a Chinese-made Greek urn… erm, will financial market swings impact SF home prices?

Not really/Maybe. A few of our buyers asked us if recent stock market corrections would allow them to get a discount on homes they each wanted. We said we doubted it. Nevertheless, these buyers thought they were being tactical when they chose to discount their offer bid amounts. Both those buyers lost out to higher (multiple) offers. Each would have won the property in question if they made a correctly priced offer. In other words, there shouldn’t be any price relief for buyers.

  • You cannot live in a stock, bond or mutual fund

More people may see real estate as a useful hedge against market risk… again. We said this a lot during the Great Recession, but it bears repeating: real estate is a great hedge against market turbulence as everyone needs a place to live and there are not only financial benefits from home ownership but you could also potentially earn rent off of your property. This may have the impact of increasing demand for real estate, which could drive prices up somewhat.

  • Interest rates will go up, but probably later than September

Act now… while you still have the chance. Everyone expects interest rates for mortgages to rise before too long. Recent market fluctuations may push that increase off until December which gives buyers a chance to lock-in extremely low mortgage rates for the next 30 years. This has the impact of potentially locking down a property for years to come. But in the short term, this may mean there will be more activity this fall with buyers pushing their budgets higher. Why? Here’s the logic: buyer purchase power is still strong today so financing a larger purchase price at a lower interest rate is viewed as being better than financing a lower-priced offer at a higher interest rate in the future as you’ll be paying more principal with a lower interest rate than a higher one.

  • Realtors matter and good ones will save you money and heartache

Every property is different, which makes having a professional more vital than ever. As alluded to above us realtors really take our clients’ interests to heart. Many of our clients benefit from our advice about property value. One couple closed on a downtown condominium recently and we found out that the backup offer behind us (which came in too late) was $100,000 above ours and was all-cash. Needless to say, our buyers were happy as they have instant equity. On the other hand, we had potential sellers ignore our specific prep and marketing plan by entrusting vital design choices to their contractor. That property now has four shades of clashing white paint in just one room. There’s also clashing crown molding painted sea-foam green and white kitchen countertops with embedded reflective confetti bits. These poor choices have harmed the property’s value by $200,000-$400,000 we believe. The property now presents a good opportunity for a buyer to get a steal of a deal.

  • What will $700,000 buy you at 555 Fulton?

How far does a dollar go these days? If you’re looking for new construction these days the most obvious choice is the big new development at 555 Fulton Street where 1-bedroom condo units without parking are selling for about $700,000 a piece depending on views. But if new construction isn’t your cup of tea, take a look at what’s selling in the neighborhood and in the City generally.

Where Homes Are Going Fastest This Spring — The Bay Area | from Trulia Trends

The Market is Fastest in the Bay Area, Quickening in New York, and Slowing in SoCal

The share of homes for sale today after being on the market two months ago ranges from less than one third in the San Francisco Bay Area to more than two thirds in several markets in the Northeast and South. The fastest-moving markets are Oakland, San Jose, and San Francisco, where less than one third of homes on the market two months ago were still for sale in mid-April 2014.

via Where Homes Are Going Fastest This Spring | Trulia Trends.

If It’s Tuesday, It’s Broker Tour Day in San Francisco — See What Us Brokers are Seeing

Recall Tuesday is when us brokers go around the city in a whirlwind tour of each other’s open houses — the speed dating of open houses. Here is the list of what we’re able to see tomorrow.

Remember, you’re welcome to visit the open houses too without me being there (although if someone gives you a hard time, tell them you’re working with Kevin Ho and I’m running late — which is not too much of a stretch!) The opens are grouped by geography with new listings on the hour and repeat listings on the half hour.

Also, D/S/C means District, Subdistrict and Classification (1 = single family homes, 2C = condos, 2T = TICs, 3+ = multiunit). Here are my observations:

  • This week there are a couple of income buildings on the north side of town as well as one over in Noe Valley and another at 18th and Mission and a pair in Potrero all in the mid $1M range.
  • There are a couple of single family fixers — one on Bush Street and the other on Oak that don’t necessarily have fixer prices.
  • For fixers with fixer prices see the one in Bernal Heights and the other in Dogpatch (offers due on Wed). There’s a rather unique larger single-family home smack dab in the middle of UCSF’s Parnassus Campus for $1.5M.
  • There are some big houses in Noe Valley, Glen Park, and Corona Heights with that ultra modern chic one on the 1600 block of Church Street still being on the market for a mere $3.5M.
  • If you want to see those units at 3500 Valencia that have been selling for $1000+/sqft (without parking in some cases) tomorrow is your chance as they’re about 60% sold out.
  • There are a few potentially cute single family homes in the Sunset near West Portal and a pair in the Miraloma area and one over in Sunnyside that looks interesting as well.
  • There is a house on Chenery that has a below $1M price tag and another single family home in St Francis Wood for $1.575M (but it’s from the agent who regularly underprices everything by 15% quite irritatingly. Oh, and there’s a huge house on in SFW for $6.8M+ too
  • There are also a pair of income units for $349,000 and 375,000 respectively in Diamond Heights Village that could get about $2000-$2500 a month in rent studio with parking for these condos on the market that could be a nice little income stream.

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Real Estate Bits and Bobbles: Aug 3 & 4

Woof, it’s foggy out

We’ve come to the fog days of summer. As we prepare for our Native and Indigenous people’s Summer in September — also known as Indian summer — when a bounty of new listings traditionally comes on the market, you can’t be asleep at the wheel. As a few instances below demonstrate, there is quite a bit of strength in the market.

Sure inventory is low, but it’s moving fast and strong. This week we saw properties receive A LOT of attention where there were nearly 100% yield rates on the number of disclosures sent and offers received.

People are paying attention and they are making moves on investment properties, fixer properties, brand new properties and are even moving on properties that are incomplete only to be delivered early next year.

NEW CONSTRUCTION BLOOMS

LineaSF they had their soft opening last Sunday. Of the 110 units slated for completion and delivery sometime early next year, 8 to 10 of them were already sold. That’s 10%! Also for those units coming with parking, owners will have to pay at least $60-$70 more per month in addition to the homeowner association dues at $500-$600 per month. Same story can be said for at 200 Dolores. Each release wave represents more competitive bidding and ever escalating prices. At the ICON SF, 16th and market, the developers have abashedly adopted the approach of raising the prices as supply diminishes going so far in fact to withhold and withdraw their next phase release until the first eight units currently in escrow close. When the unsold units reappear in September, they will be at higher prices most likely. More than 55% of the 63 units over 300 Ivy are in contract. They are on their fifth release. At the Marlow over in Russian Hill, they are nearly 60% sold out.

NEW CONSTRUCTION BLOOMS (RENTAL EDITION)

The large development of 2001 Market St., previously teetering from being a rental building or a market building, seems to have finally decided that it will be a rental building. Over 277 Golden Gate, the brand-new rental building is coming online. Interestingly, more than 25% have been leased out already with studio units at 280 ft.² renting for $2000 a month and one-bedrooms for $3000 a month.

There are at least three more Stanley Saitowitz buildings being built right now apart from the ones open at Ellis Street. Meanwhile from my market intelligence, I know some more buildings geared towards the middle range of the market, and other high-end luxury ones being built too but are still in the demo/foundation phase while others are still in the planning stages. From start to finish it can take up to 2 years to get projects started not to mention built! It can be dizzying but it definitely worth keeping track of what is being built and when we can expect these new projects.

Mortgage Rates Under 4% This Isn’t an Advertisement, But…

Our in-house Citibank representative advises me that interest rates have lowered this week from 4.625% to 4.5%. But with Vanguard’s preferred rate program that qualified applicants would most likely get somewhere in the 4% range. And those for borrowers who have established or establish a relationship with Citibank where they deposit $250,000 for a short time (10 days or something like that) those borrowers will get another 1/8th point off for a final rate of 3.875%. The account can be closed too and the rate stays. For more information, ping me and I’ll put you in touch with the rep.

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Open Your Textbooks To….

You can always learn something new in real estate (or you can just judge my design skills). Either way check the latest version of my infamous Buyer Guide here (via Dropbox)

Kitchen Remodel as Progress … Or public health risk?

From this week’s Sunday NYTimes:

Many of the safety issues of yesterday’s kitchens are gone. No one in my family is likely to tumble into an open hearth. But new kitchens pose a more subtle danger to our health by doubling as a comfortable social, entertainment and eating hub. Retail marketers have long known that when tempting food is within close range of our eyes or nose, we tend to eat more of it. In our new kitchens, it’s just too darn easy to get to addictive snacks and calorie-rich drinks.

See more at the NYTimes Sunday Review

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